Celebrating Legacy, Athleticism and Soulful Sounds in our Hometown 
What’s the news? As title sponsor, Cricket Wireless is all set to bring the 2023 Cricket Celebration Bowl weekend to Atlanta once again. On Saturday, December 16 at noon, the Howard University (HU) Bison and Florida A&M University (FAMU) Rattlers will face off for the title of the HBCU football national champion at the Cricket Celebration Bowl. This year, organizers hope to surpass the 50,000-attendee number and 2.4 million viewership on ABC last year.

Cricket is also sponsoring the inaugural Band of the Year competition, which kicks off the weekend on Friday, December 15. This competition welcomes top Division I and II Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) marching bands to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Each division will have their winner crowned 2023 national champions.

Earlier this year, Cricket announced it will extend its title sponsorship with ESPN Events through 2027.

About the Game
Since the game’s inception in 2015, it has been a hub for celebrating HBCU revelry and culture. Hosting the game in Atlanta, Cricket’s hometown and home to the Atlanta University Center, is a natural fit for Cricket, ESPN and the HBCU community. This national championship pits the best teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) to determine the undisputed champion of HBCU football. As two of the most storied HBCUs, the HU Bison and FAMU Rattlers enter the Cricket Celebration Bowl field for the first time. This is sure to be another great game at Mercedes Benz stadium.

Band of the Year
Marching on to victory, Division I school finalists the North Carolina A&T University “Blue and Gold Marching Machine” are matched against the Jackson State University “Sonic Boom of the South.” While the Division II finalists are Florida Memorial University’s “The Roar” and Virginia State University’s “Trojan Explosion.” The ESPN Band of the Year title competition starts at 6 PM ET and will be simulcast on ESPN3 and ESPN Plus.

What are people saying? “It’s amazing to see what we have accomplished with this sponsorship both on and off the field. What started with a conversation about Cricket’s commitment to elevate HBCU football has led to years of deepening our connection with these storied institutions,” said Cricket President John Dwyer. “We are proud of this collaboration with ESPN events and remain committed to investing to advance HBCU talent.”  

On his part, executive director of ESPN Events, John Grant said, “reflecting on the history of the Bowl game, I am pleased to see the vision for this initiative come to life and the impact it has had on the HBCU diaspora. I commend John Dwyer. Cricket bought into this vision for HBCUs without seeing what it would become. The brand remains committed to investing in the effort and deepening their relationship with the institutions far beyond a football game.”

Beyond the Game
Cricket’s commitment to creating meaningful connections extends beyond football:
  • Since it launched in 2020, Cricket’s Campus Ambassador Program has grown to 23 students in three years. The Program provides a unique opportunity for HBCU students with an interest in marketing to gain experience developing and executing marketing plans on their campuses with support from local Cricket Field Marketing Managers and Authorized Retailers. Additionally, top performing Ambassadors are considered for post-graduation internships with Cricket and their supporting partners. During the Bowl game, viewers will see three of Cricket’s latest commercial spots - ABC’s, Hint and Secret Handshake featuring our Campus Ambassadors.
  • The Cool Soror podcast hosted by Florida A&M University alumna, Rashan Ali and sponsored by Cricket, will be filming a live episode during the game.
  • Cricket has also sponsored the National Battle of the Bands (NBOTB) showcase in Houston, TX. This sponsorship directly benefits the participating colleges and universities’ band programs.

About Cricket Wireless    
Cricket is focused on inspiring smiles, one meaningful connection at a time. We offer an easy and high-quality wireless experience on our reliable nationwide network. Our affordable, straightforward service plans include monthly taxes and don’t require an annual contract. Our customers also enjoy basic to top-brand phones at affordable prices. Based on net adds among major carriers, in the third quarter of 2023 AT&T had the fastest growing prepaid phone portfolio in the U.S.—which includes Cricket Wireless. 2022 was the fourth consecutive year where AT&T’s prepaid portfolio added more prepaid phone customers than any other major provider in the United States.  
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